Long-serving Edinburgh Labour councillor to stand down at next year's elections

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Long-serving Labour councillor Gordon Munro has announced he is to stand down at next year’s local elections.

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After nearly 20 years representing Leith at the City Chambers he said it was time for someone else to “take up the cudgels”.

Cllr Munro said he was retiring for a combination of personal and political reasons.

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Gordon Munro will not seek re-election next yearGordon Munro will not seek re-election next year
Gordon Munro will not seek re-election next year

He said: “I have been on blood pressure medication and daily monitoring of blood pressure for the last couple of years. But working from home during Covid, my blood pressure has gone down. I want to keep this improvement and take it as far as I can because last year we became grandparents and I want to be fit and healthy for our family and our new addition Ada.

“The political reason is that the scope councillors have for making a difference is increasingly circumscribed by the Scottish Government. Audit Scotland in their reports on funding for local government warn about this and point out the cuts are having a serious impact on council services.”

Cllr Munro was first elected as councillor in 2003, winning Leith’s Harbour ward from the SNP and helping to give Labour a narrow majority in the last council elections before the switch to the Single Transferable Vote ushered in an era of coalition administrations.

Her served as vice-convener of the council’s economy committee and chair of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre between 2012 and 2017.

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But he said: "It’s time for a gender and a generational change – there needs to be a new intake and that applies cross-party.”

In May Cllr Munro was suspended from the Labour group for abstaining on the vote to approve the SNP-Labour coalition’s budget.

He said: "I’ve always stood up for the area I represent, for the city I was elected to serve and for the cause of Labour.

And he said he wished as much energy had been expended on implementing the coalition agreement pledges to seek fair funding for the council and standing up against austerity from both Westminster and Holyrood as had been used in “chasing me for my particular views”.

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He was also Labour candidate in Edinburgh North and Leith at the last two Westminster general elections.

And although he will not be a councillor after May next year, he plans to remain active. “Like one of my heroes Tony Benn, I may be retiring from elected office but I won’t be retiring from politics.”

But he said: "It’s time for someone else to take up the cudgels on behalf of Leith and fight hard for the people there because they need a doughty fighter.”

Anne McCluskey, chair of the constituency party, said: “We thank Gordon for all his efforts and hard work for all the people in Leith and especially highlight some of his many achievements which include new housing at Fort; chairing Leith Festival, 2003 – 2013 and bringing it back from oblivion ); substantial investment in Cables Wynd House, securing Custom House as a future museum; keeping Victoria Primary School open and his cross party work in getting investment in Leith Links which has recently seen the return of the tennis courts and new improved play equipment . He has been a strong voice for the Labour Party and will be missed when he stands down next May.”

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